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Banff, AB ice climbing recommendations?


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A friend and I are heading to Banff this coming friday through monday to check out the area and do some climbing and I was hoping that you all could give me some suggestions on awesome routes to check out, spots I can't miss, places i must see, and good coffee ;) ! I am new to ice climbing (but not new to climbing) and my buddy is comfortable up to WI4+ about, to narrow it down.


Let me know anything you think would make for a better trip!



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Yeman and I are going to Banff Feb16 to 23. I've been there a few times. You will not regret going and wish that you had more time. But for WI4 and just a few days I would suggest: Johnson Canyon on Bow Valley Pkwy, half pitch climbs side by side that can be top roped if need be, you can run laps all day, 1 mile hike on easy trail: Louise Falls, Lake Louise, 2 long pitches, you can see it from the lodge, 1 mile easy flat hike: Lower Weeping wall on Ice Fields Pkwy, 3 pitches, classic, 2 minute hike, if you miss it you are blind. These are popular climbs with easy access so you can expect other climbers, they can get hacked out. If you are looking for something more challenging you will get a lot more hiking on approach and less climbing. But no matter what you do I know you will wan't to go back.


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Don't think Cascade is all that good a choice right now


Subject: [MCR] Cascade falls ice climb

Date: Sun, 10 Feb 2013 18:32:31 -0700


On my drive home this evening, I noticed a large section of cascade falls has

fallen down/melted out, on the second to last pitch. There is still a narrow

strip of ice that remains on the climbers right side but I would imagine it to

be in poor shape and ready to collapse or melt out in the coming days.


Kris Irwin - ACMG Alpine Guide


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A bit of input from a local...


It has been unseasonably warm and dry for the past three weeks or so. Not much snow, no rain, etc. A lot of sun, though. We had +6 in Canmore yesterday - people were walking around in shorts.


The ice is getting very sun affected, white, delaminating. It is wet everywhere.


As posted above, a good chunk of Cascade fell off on Sunday, and everything else is looking similarly iffy.


Current recommendations for this weekend, around WI4, (in no particular order)would be: Professors, Louise, Moonlight/Snowline, Wilson Major, Murchison, Guinness climbs (Guinness Gully, Guinness Stout, High Test).


If you can get into the Ghost (which is a bit adventurous in these warm temps...) add: Kemosabe, Malignant Mushroom, Wicked Wanda, Sorcerer.


Personally, Wilson Major is one of the coolest spots I've been to this year, and if avy conditions remain acceptable, I highly recommend checking it out: http://www.thealpinestart.com/2013/02/trip-report-mt-wilson-climbs/

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If it gets warm and sketchy then the "old standbys" for cold are Murchison, Bow Falls, Panther Falls. On average that stuff will be at least 10 degrees colder than the stuff near Canmore. Weeping wall if it's not too cold but it gets sun affected quickly. Field is also a good bet, though not Silk Tassel. Super Bok might be cool. If not Massey's is a consolation for the walk.


In real sunny high av conditions I tend to stay away from Cascade, Bourgeau climbs, Kidd Falls, anything with hazard above.

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Hi Rafal :).

Thanks for the input. I will be there too next week and was curious about the recent warming trend.

What are our chances of getting into the Ghost in the Prius with studded tires? Too "adventurous"?


Just a tad. High clearance 4x4's have been routinely getting stuck by the blue bridge :-)

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  • 2 weeks later...

It's cold again. All the popular climbs are picked out, but there are virgin lines on most of them if you are willing to climb a little harder.


Guinness and Carlsberg were nice, not that crowded. Proffessors was crowded and a foot race to the base and that's with starting early. Snowline/ Moonlight crowded also, had to wait 1.5 hrs to start

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